A Pensioner Day On The Isle Of Wight
You know that feeling when you want to visit but you never do. It’s ages since we went to the Isle of Wight so when friends on holiday there invited us over, it was an easy decision. The ferry journey from Lymington is spectacular. Firstly, we passed a tern colony on an island and then had amazing views of Hurst Castle. It looked like an island in the Venice Lagoon, as my photo shows. Yarmouth is an attractive harbour and immediately we arrived the pace of life fell a few notches. For certain, a pensioner day on the Isle of Wight looked very promising.
Our friends met us off the ferry, with their dog Lucy. They proposed the signposted walk to Freshwater Bay so it was immediately off along the River Yar. It was a level, car free world of wildflowers, reeds, pools and birdsong. The path, an old railway line, splits the end of the Isle from north to south. Beneath is a mass of chalk and flint. We stopped at the cafe, the ‘End of the Line’ for coffee and cake. Then it was on to the beach at Freshwater Bay. After lunch, we climbed up Tennyson Down, one of the finest viewpoints in Britain. It is a view of the Neolithic, the prehistoric coast of Britain.
The White Island
Zuri called it the white island. Her flint tools were made using chert, a type of flint, from the islands chalk downs. The chalk pillars of the Needles would have been their right side sea gate. The chalk of Old Harry Rocks on the Purbeck hills marked the left side. A central line led the seafarers straight into Hengistbury Head and safe harbour. That safety, of ‘crossing the bar’ as Tennyson wrote, comes alive at this very spot, his favourite walk.
A Pensioner Day on the Isle of Wight
It’s sad that these home delights don’t attract holidaymakers when compared to places like Spain. That’s because stay at home holidays are not promoted by mega companies bent on profit. For certain, Spain is a cultural wilderness to us, the airports both stressful and environmentally destructive. Consequently, we need to find ourselves, get back in touch with our past and the long struggle our forebears had to get us here. A trip to the Isle of Wight, even a day trip, can open up a new, expansive and interesting world, one that touches our historic and poetic past.